The Alan King trained Sceau Royal has been given an option to go back over fences before the turn of the year in the Grade Two Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton over Christmas.
The eight year old has been tried over both hurdles and fences during his career and although winning races like the Shloer Chase and Henry VIII Novices' Chase over the bigger obstacles, last term showed that he was not good enough at the top level.
This has now seen his handler move him back to hurdles and it looked to be the right move off the back of his seasonal debut when taking the Welsh Champion Hurdle.
He used that run to the go on and land the the Grade Two Elite Hurdle at Wincanton next time out and then ran another cracker in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle finishing second to Champion Hurdle winner Epatante when stepping up to Grade One company.
Having been frequently run already this season, King still entered him for the International Hurdle at Cheltenham last Saturday and he ran another superb race to finish a closely bunched fourth.
Having now ran four times this season over hurdles and been progressively dropping down the pecking order, Sceau Royal may now be sent back over fences to try and rejuvenate his career over the larger obstacles.
Although the Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day is still an option, King has also highlighted the Desert Orchid Chase on the 27th December as a possible next step for the eight year old, where he could take on Altior again.
(Credit ATR) “I thought Sceau Royal ran extremely well the other day,” said the Barbury Castle trainer.
“I know it didn’t suit a lot of them, but it certainly didn’t suit us with the hurdles coming out, because that is his one strong point – his jumping.
“He seems to have taken the race very well, and there’s a chance he could go to Kempton over Christmas.
“He’ll have an entry in the Christmas Hurdle, but he’ll also have an entry in the Desert Orchid – and we’ll look and see what’s there.
“There’s nothing really for him in January or February, so he could have a good break after Christmas.”